Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Does anyone want a husky?

our husky by radioflyer007
our husky a photo by radioflyer007 on Flickr.

It's been almost 5 weeks since we've rescued Skye from the local shelter. After several "bad days" with the dog, I'm ready to give her back. Before I send her back to the shelter, I thought I would see if there is anyone out there willing to take on a challenge, with a capital "S" (as in Skye).

Before you forward this blog post to friends of yours whom may be interested, I will provide you with full disclosure on the "issues" I've had with this particular pooch.

First of all, we found her at the local county shelter with no paperwork. All that was provided was that she was a female Siberian Husky mix about 1 to 1.5 years old. Her intake form noted that she was a stray. That probably explained why she was so thin.

Anyway, let me add my bit to the above now that she's lived with me for over a month now. She is a picky eater. She dislikes her dry kibble and would much prefer table food, wet dog food, treats, or even grass and plants (bad news for those of you with a green thumb). Perhaps that's how she survived on the streets.

She is destructive (again, this is all in the spirit of full-disclosure). Now before all you dog-lovers blame me for her destructive behavior, let me fill you in. This pooch gets 2 - 3 walks a day. She walks and runs with me or my husband. The walks/runs range anywhere from one to three miles. She gets as much outdoor time as she wants because one of us is home to let her out and back in. She has a backyard to run around in and we play fetch/catch with her as well as train her (we are taking obedience classes). She gets feed two meals a day, treats, has toys, chew things, and sticks to do with whatever. Up until recently, she wasn't even crated on any regular basis.

Now, that we know that she will destroy something while we are gone (she is inside the house and not crated), I don't trust her in the house unsupervised anymore. Bye bye freedom and hello doggie crate. She is never left home alone for more than 1 to 1.5 hours. She will chew things she wasn't even interested in before we left the house. Each time we've left the house, we've made sure she just went on a super long walk.

So, if you plan on being out of the house for more than, say 10 minutes, you need a crate for this dog. Why don't I leave her in the backyard while we're gone? Well, my backyard isn't built like Alcatraz (nor is it surrounded by water). I've watched her try to jump our fence. Even though she hasn't yet, I'm quite sure she can do it if she's super-motivated and can do a bit of problem solving. I used to think that's how Skye ended up as a stray on the streets. She escaped from her owner. Haha - now I think otherwise . . . .

Today, I was chatting with a woman at a school meeting and when I told her about my dog woes, she sat bolt upright when she heard that my "problem child" is a husky. She later confessed that she had been given a husky and after trying to live with its howling (oh yeah, another thing to mention, she HOWLS as well as barks and whimpers - she seems to have more in her "repertoire" of dog noises) and biting, she told her husband to get rid of the dog. He did and he told her, "just don't ask me what I did with it." I suspect he may have set the dog loose. By the way, this was the second story I heard about an owner having "husky regret." Another person told me her family returned their rescue husky to the local shelter for very similar reasons. Hmm . . . coincidence?

So . . . . if I were to summarize in the form of an advertisement, this is what it would be:

Young female Siberian Husky mix about 1 to 1.5 years old. Up to date on shots, spayed, and in general good health. Super active dog that MUST be exercised multiple times a day (or have a good long run). Running around in an enclosed yard is additional to the walks. Very high maintenance and tends to get destructive when left alone, even for short periods of time. While not an outdoor dog, this dog is not to be trusted alone in your house unless all objects of any worth to you are stashed away (good luck putting your favorite couch in storage). Picky eater and likes to beg for table food. Needs a strong leader to put her in her place and even that is not a guarantee of a well-behaved dog. Jumps on people, hurls herself at dogs and generally chases at anything that moves and breathes (sometimes a breath isn't even a factor as falling leaves may catapult her towards oncoming traffic). Loves, loves, loves to pull on her leash so wear leather gloves so you don't get leash burn (a head collar is effective but it leaves indentations on her face after walks/runs). Oh, and if you don't like to vacuum, like say twice a day, this isn't the breed for you.

Well, there you have it. Check back in with me in a week to see if this offer is live. Until then, I've got to figure out how this dog and I can co-habit a space in harmony.

P.S. In case you were wondering if the "honeymoon" period has worn off with the new dog . . . yup, I'll say it has.

Monday, March 7, 2011

February Books

For the second month in a row, I am late reporting in the books I've read. I didn't get to read as much as I had hoped (the short month did affect the amount I read - yeah, with two more days, I could have read another dozen books!) but nonetheless, every book I read was great. It was a great month in books:

1. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World (Paul Miller): 4.0/5 stars
2. The Successful Home Business Guide (Wil Limkemann): 3.2/5 stars

3. Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit (Erwin McManus): 3.6/5 stars
I've had the privilege of hearing Erwin McManus speak on numerous ocasions and I love the way he draws his listeners in with humorous recounts of moments in his life. Even the mundane gets a fresh twist and his perspective always catches me off-guard in a compelling way. His book is written as a collection of brainstorms/journal entries which are categorized into three cravings: intimacy, destiny, and meaning. While I loved how each of his stories seemed so relevant, I found the entries a bit obtuse and difficult to "compartmentalize" in my brain. The entry headings were spot on but yet making each entry connect to an overall larger picture wasn't so easy. His book is filled with weighty thoughts that one could ponder for awhile (and if I were one to mark-up books, I would mark this one up). Overall, a great read but somehow not exactly what I was expecting.

4. The Teachable Moment: Seizing the Instants When Children Learn (Rebecca Branstetter) (4.1/5 stars)
This is a collection of stories from educators and para-professionals who share their teachable moments in the first person narrative. Some of these stories really warmed my heart (like the story of young Astin who would come to school with a thousand little objects in his pocket and how a school psychologist made an awkward new student become self-assured and confident). I liked the section on Reaching the Special Needs Student as it made me reflect on how I am (or am not) reaching MY special needs student. I think this should be a must read for every educator, whether private, public or homeschool teacher. It sheds so much light on the relationships that are inevitable when teaching and learning are involved. While some of the stories seemed heavily edited (teacher recounts talk about countless hours working with an individual student with much patience and love - hmm . . . I would have resonated more with "break-down moments" and feelings of despair), overall the compilation of stories makes for an enriching experience peeking into the classrooms of these teachers. A good take-away for me is that "teachable moments" are not necessarily spontaneous - often times they are created and planned with specific children in mind.

1. Always the Baker, Never the Bride (Sandra Bricker): 2.8/5 stars
2. The Lightening Thief (Rick Riordan): 4.8/5 stars
3. The Sea of Monsters (Rick Riordan): 4.7/5 stars

4. The Help (Kathryn Stockett): 4.9/5 stars
What a great book - so rich in descriptive narrative and multi-dimensional relationships, it's hard to believe it's a work of fiction. This book came so highly recommended that I was ashamed to let my recommending friends know that I just wasn't that interested in the subject matter (black/white folks in the South during the 1960's). Well, I thought I would give it another try this year and I'm so glad I did. The first time I tried reading the book, I must have been sitting on a roller coaster or watching a movie in a theater. I couldn't put the book down and with the little self-control I have with good books, I finished it in two days (but poor 'Shroom and Lolli didn't have a decent dinner in those two days).

5. The Titan's Curse (Rick Riordan): 4.3/5 stars
This one was read aloud to the kids and is the third book in the Percy Jackson. While this third books has become somewhat formulaic (as can be expected even with great writers), we still thoroughly enjoyed this book. We didn't like so much that Annabeth was missing throughout most of the book but there were a few new female characters to fill the void. 'Shroom is even having dreams about slaying monsters!